Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/470

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creased, and did not diminish, as the farmers feared. These measures of Huskisson, however, were purely tentative; and, subsequent to 1824, there was a great financial struggle in the process of restoring specie payment in the Bank of England, and in the bringing about conditions consistent with peace. The great Napoleonic wars in the early part of the century had thrown every art and industry out of its true relation. But the method of reform was not forced upon the attention of the people of Great Britain until the disastrous results of the attempt to regulate prices and wages by way of a high tariff, and the failure of this method of promoting domestic industry and of developing a home market had culminated in 1840.

In every history of this time, the picture of the condition of Great Britain is one of the most painful suffering on the part of most of the working people. The land was held in the hands of a very few great landholders who were protected by the corn laws, and who were thus enabled to charge high prices for necessary food. Great wealth had been accumulating during the period of war in the development of mines, works, and factories. Individual wealth existed in a measure never before witnessed; and this condition misled many legislators in this country; it deceived the very elect, and doubtless led Henry Clay and other champions of a high tariff to advocate the very policy which Great Britain was then being forced to give up by the disastrous results which had ensued. Underneath this outside show of prosperity, poverty, destitution, and want existed on every side; pauperism existed as never before or since among any English-speaking people.

At the time when Sir Robert Peel took office in 1840 it was clearly proved that the very measures which had been enacted for the purpose of establishing a home market and building up domestic manufactures "had destroyed that market by reducing the great mass of the population to beggary, destitution, and want." I quote the exact words of a contemporary observer.

Those who choose to discriminate between the leaders of the two parties of the present time may read the perversion of English history by James G. Blaine, in the North American Review; and the true picture which is given by General M. M. Trumbull.

It would be well worth while for any one who may have been misled by the common errors about the influences which brought Great Britain to reverse her policy in 1842, to read up the economic history of that period. It can be done in a very few days. All the facts are given by the radical Miss Martineau in her History of Fifty Years' Peace; by the Tory, Sir Stafford Northcote, in his Twenty Years' Financial Policy, explaining the changes which Peel brought about; by the economist John Noble's Fiscal Legislation in Great Britain; or in Carlyle's